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Journal Article

A naturalistic paradigm simulating gaze-based social interactions for the investigation of social agency

MPS-Authors

Brandi,  Marie-Luise
Independent Max Planck Research Group Social Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

Kaifel,  Daniela
Independent Max Planck Research Group Social Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

Lahnakoski,  Juha M.
Independent Max Planck Research Group Social Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

Schilbach,  Leonhard
Independent Max Planck Research Group Social Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Brandi, M.-L., Kaifel, D., Lahnakoski, J. M., & Schilbach, L. (2019). A naturalistic paradigm simulating gaze-based social interactions for the investigation of social agency. Behavior Research Methods. doi:10.3758/s13428-019-01299-x.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-4436-1
Abstract
Sense of agency describes the experience of being the cause of one's own actions and the resulting effects. In a social interaction, one's actions may also have a perceivable effect on the actions of others. In this article, we refer to the experience of being responsible for the behavior of others as social agency, which has important implications for the success or failure of social interactions. Gaze-contingent eyetracking paradigms provide a useful tool to analyze social agency in an experimentally controlled manner, but the current methods are lacking in terms of their ecological validity. We applied this technique in a novel task using video stimuli of real gaze behavior to simulate a gaze-based social interaction. This enabled us to create the impression of a live interaction with another person while being able to manipulate the gaze contingency and congruency shown by the simulated interaction partner in a continuous manner. Behavioral data demonstrated that participants believed they were interacting with a real person and that systematic changes in the responsiveness of the simulated partner modulated the experience of social agency. More specifically, gaze contingency (temporal relatedness) and gaze congruency (gaze direction relative to the participant's gaze) influenced the explicit sense of being responsible for the behavior of the other. In general, our study introduces a new naturalistic task to simulate gaze-based social interactions and demonstrates that it is suitable to studying the explicit experience of social agency.